Hoza Scott vs. Kain Daub: Which 5-Star LB Is Better?
With so many teams now throwing the football, if you listen closely enough you'll hear whispers that the linebacker position is dying. Yes, that's right, some people are starting to believe that the classic second level defender is on the verge of extinction. They feel that defenses are one day going to be forced to replace linebackers with defensive backs to cover the passing game better.
I'm not sure about that theory, and I hope it doesn't come true because I'm a fan of the LB position. It's fun to watch good 'backers play and to evaluate them. Two of the better linebackers in this 2014 class are Hoza Scott from Texas and Kain Daub from Florida.
Both have their share of 5-star accolades and decorations, as well as being highly ranked. Continuing our 5-star scouting breakdown battle series, let's match these two against one another and see who's the better LB prospect.
Daub is a very big LB prospect with outstanding size. He's as impressive a LB on the hoof as we've seen in recent years. The Florida native is between 6'3" and 6'4" while weighing 235-245 pounds. Daub's frame will probably tack on 10-15 more pounds, and he will see more definition come to his body in the coming years.
Size is not as issue for Scott, as he stands between 6'2" and 6'3", while weighing 220-225 pounds. He will easily add more bulk in college and his legs and calves are pretty thick. Scott's frame and body is impressive.
Athleticism, Speed and Range
I'm not overly high on Daub's all-around athleticism, but he does show very good straight line speed. He's also pretty quick in short areas, too. He does have good range, but I feel it will decrease a bit in college due to the faster offensive players at the level. Daub's not a bad athlete at all, but I have seen more fluid 'backers.
The range Scott has on the high school level compares favorably to Kwon Alexander's. Scott's an excellent athlete for the LB position and has fantastic play speed. He can beat blockers to spots, knife through traffic and hawk ball-carriers sideline to sideline.
Point of Attack Strength
This is an area where Daub really separates himself from many other LBs. He plays like a grown man at the point of attack and has great strength. Daub shows explosiveness and power when taking on a blocker. In an area that not many LBs seem to like anymore, this guy seems to enjoy point-of-attack play.
Scott's strength isn't as good as Daub's, but he's not a weakling. His game is more based on speed and range rather than pure power. He shows some strength and power at times, and I believe he'll get stronger at Texas A&M.
Instincts and Ability to Diagnose Plays Quickly
Watching Daub, I see a guy who has good play instincts and just a natural feel for the run game. He's very quick to read his keys, process information and make decisions to attack the line of scrimmage. He's not a robot on the field by any means and plays with good awareness.
It's clear Scott is always locked into the game, as he really has fantastic instincts and awareness. He doesn't seem to forget a misdirection play and reacts with excellent quickness to get to the ball. The game comes naturally to him, and he can quickly read plays.
Playing the run is Daub's expertise, and if you want a plugger, he's your guy. This kid is quick and stout to fill run alleys and isn't afraid of anybody. He fills relentlessly and comes hard downhill off his mark to attack ball-carriers consistently.
Scott plays more on the edges than Daub, so his run defense is more lateral movement than downhill filling. But, boy, can he chase and hawk the run. Scott's speed and range allow him to pursue ball-carriers hard, and he's extremely productive vs. the run.
This is the area where I believe Daub's going to struggle when he gets to college. I just don't see an athlete who can cover quick RBs man-to-man in the passing game. He could become adequate as a buzzing zone defender, but most of Daub's defense vs. the pass will have to come as a blitzer and pressure guy.
Scott has some things to learn about pass defense, but he shows the athleticism in space to become a good zone defender. He'll be able to cover RBs and TEs due to his play speed. Scott also shows some pass-rushing potential, and he could play a little sub-package DE.
A physical wrap-tackler, Daub's great strength and power allow him to thump ball-carriers by wrapping up and driving his body through the point-of-attack upon contact. This is a big, physical, strong-tackling LB without question.
Scott's way of tackling is by chasing and dragging people down. He'll deliver a big hit when he has a clean shot and can change the course of games by forcing turnovers. What I love about Scott's tackling ability is that he can do it in space. Yet, he's not the physical wrap tackler Daub is.
Advantage: Depends on what you prefer. I'll go with Scott due to his superior ability to tackle in space.
This is pretty much a tie, but I like Scott better and feel he's a better long-term prospect. He's faster, has better athleticism and even though Daub can attack the pocket vs. the pass, Scott is the more proven pass-rusher.
Scott also tackles in space better while retaining the same, if not better instincts, as Daub. I can see Daub playing ILB in a 3-4 or as an Anthony Spencer-run stopping 3-4 OLB.
Scott can play Will or Sam in a 4-3, as well as play the rush-end stand 3-4 OLB position and perhaps even some weakside DE. I think he's a little bit better of a prospect than Daub right now.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.
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